Yesterday, I heard two familiar pieces of music on the radio. It took me back to when I studied music at school. There, as part of preparations for our examinations we followed the music scores of Bach’s Brandenburg Concert #3 and Schubert’s Fifth Symphony whilst listening to vinyl L. P. recordings of these works. It was both a duty and joy to follow and listen under the observations and instructions of a good teacher. Over and over again, our small group of pupils would listen to the recordings until we became so familiar that we knew them off by heart for the exam to follow. Some years later, I was pleased to hear these works played in concert by a live Orchestra. That initial schoolboy learning process was transposed into wonder as I witnessed each member of the Philharmonic playing their part under the conductor for the audience’s delight.
In an Orchestra, breath and hands on musical instruments bring sound to notes, as breath gives voice to words in praise of God and hands bring mercy and kindness to others. Just as music is the fuel to stir emotions, Christian love is the engine to move faith and hope into action. Our Christian life too, often starts with listening and following the scores (the Bible/the Liturgy/the Church Fathers), paying attention to the Teacher and Conductor of our life (Christ), and then working together (in fellowship)for the benefit and joy of others(evangelism).
Theme: Working together in Harmony
“Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing.
When one desert father told another of his plans to “ shut himself into his cell and refuse the face of men, that he might perfect himself,” the second monk replied, “ Unless thou first amend thy life going to and fro amongst men, thou shall not avail to amend it dwelling alone.”
Many arrived and adjusted themselves to a listening mode in the auditorium.
The orchestra entered, settled themselves, tuned up and looked intently for the Conductor’s command.
Sound and silence became a dialogue.
Both the ones who played and those who listened melded into a dynamic organism;
a heartbeat giving life to a body.
The union of loving strings buzzed as bees in a hive,
To shrive the withered minds and weary limbs,
And having worked the nectar and shared the pollen from the hours of practice and rehearsal,
Produced the honey for those seated to taste.
The audience feasted on the abundant sweet notes
And were swept along and above to a higher form;
from their mundane routine to another dimension.
They were moved, transported to the land
Of awe filled tears,
Where harmony is the currency,
Where sunshine sparkles
and dances on the ears.
Beads of infinity permeate the throng in this communion song;
Inspiring first emotion, then empathy, followed by wonder and finally joy.
Such joy as can never be captured but glimpsed-only glimpsed,
In a gilded moment, felt in the heart,
digested in that part
of the mind which is forever a child’s laugh or first remembered summer.
As food is energy to the body so is music nourishment for the soul.
Such provision was encouraged by a ministering angel’s smile, sent
In order for us to repent from worldly guile.
We are drawn into that scented circle, inexorably and imperiously drawn
By that mysterious sound that claims and wraps our tender frame.
“But why so little music in the Gospels?”
“Hosannas” with palms endorse a King
And older Psalms, of course, to sing!
But where is the chorus for our dreams?
Only for the Prodigal it seems!
Was music not given by God to grace the mind of all,
make glad the heart, to heed the call?
Is there not harmony at the centre of the Universe?
Or is it that our lives in Christ should rehearse
reverse the ego’s trend and blend to be
a sounding board with others in that greater symphony.
A Harmony with Thee
Not I but we,
Was blind now see,
Oi Agioi kai Angeloi,
with The Holy Trinity.
A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.
Saint Basil the Great